Thursday, March 7, 2013

Harris State Beach to Port Orford

Port Orford, Oregon (via Wikipedia)
Food is on our minds as we cross the Klamath, Smith, and Pistol rivers. We also cross the Thomas Creek Bridge, highest in Oregon at roughly 350 feet, en route to Port Orford.

An unassuming town of a little more than 1,000 people, Port Orford was founded in 1856 and later became a shipping port for cedar. In 1941, mayor Gilbert Gable attempted to create an independent State of Jefferson comprising several counties in southern Oregon and northern California. From that proposed state's Proclamation of Independence:

For the next hundred miles as you drive along Highway 99, you are traveling parallel to the greatest copper belt in the far West, seventy-five miles west of here.

The United States government needs this vital mineral. But gross neglect by California and Oregon deprives us of necessary roads to bring out the copper ore.

If you don't believe this, drive down the Klamath River Highway and see for yourself. Take your chains, shovel and dynamite.

Then Pearl Harbor was bombed, and folks' priorities shifted.

The southernmost of Oregon's lighthouses, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, is not far from here. It opened in 1870 and looks like a nice place to visit on our next trip, when we have more time.

Port Orford's motto could be underpromise, overdeliver. Lunch is a prime example. We stop at RedFish because we are hungry and it sits atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There might be better methods for finding a place to eat, but “ooh, pretty” has served us well so far.

It's best not to expect much from small-town restaurants, and we don't, which makes the quality of our meal a welcome surprise. Sandra has crab cakes and clam chowder, while I have a carnitas sandwich. The carnitas is tender, moist, and flavorful. Yeah, it's on the greasy side, but isn't that the point?

We share a Pin-Up Porter from Southern Oregon Brewing Co. in Medford. After a brief rest, we continue north. Our plan had not called for an hour stop here, but the food and the view make it difficult for us to leave.

This place is worth a return visit. I don't know what other hidden treasures the town might hold, but RedFish would not be out of place in many large, cosmopolitan cities. It has the added benefit of not actually being in a large, cosmopolitan city.

Soon, restaurant and town are behind us. The road continues winding along the coast, pregnant with the promise of future lighthouses.

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